If you’re trying to socialize your pooch, you first need to assess if your dog is afraid and if so, what causes this fear. Don’t allow people or dogs to approach your pet right away. It is always best to do this with friends and family first. If your dog does have a bad reaction, this will help protect both you and your dog from possible injuries, unpleasant conversations and especially legal ramifications if your dog does bite. Never force your dog into a situation they are uncomfortable with, and if they are still displaying aggression, you should seek professional help.
When all goes well with introducing a pup to people you know, bring your dog to a place where there’s a variety of strangers hanging around, maybe even dogs on leashes. Dog parks, or even regular parks that allow dogs can be a good place for socializing your pup. Sit on a bench and have your dog simply take in what is going on around them. If someone approaches you, be upfront that you are unsure if your dog is friendly. Assess how your dog reacts to other animals, dogs and people, and try to establish a pattern. For example, does your dog react to big dogs or small dogs? What reaction is it – fear, happiness, curiosity? How about reacting to elderly people or children? People making loud noises or people wearing hats or riding bikes? Everything counts with a young puppy.
If your dog is showing aggression, you should by no means allow it to continue. You can try to correct aggressive behavior yourself following well establishing obedience training patterns. But if you do not feel confident in handling the situation yourself, seek out the help of a qualified dog trainer. Negative socialization experiences can lead to even greater problems, and avoiding these instances has a similar result.
A well socialized dog is typically comfortable, confident and mentally stable. The more you do for your dog when she is young, the better. If you didn’t get your pooch when she was a puppy, you can still work with her to build mental stability through socialization. With patience, consistency, and good techniques, you can achieve very positive results with most dogs in a reasonable amount of time.